Our Mayor’s “Tough Choices”
By Whitney Frazier
Some of the best community art after-school programs are no longer eligible for the biggest pot of Baltimore City’s after-school money due to a new grant stipulation: every after-school provider must be connected to a Community Resource School. This new requirement came straight from the top, Madam Mayor Rawlings-Blake. Her “doomsday” budget continues to cut after-school program funding and other important services for kids.
If after-school providers want to be eligible for this particular grant funding, they must once again adjust their programs to fit the grant. In other words, that cozy little arts center must now be housed in a cramped, decrepit public school building. Many high school kids don’t want to be in school in the first place and now we are hoping they will stick around for after-school arts programs at their school sites.
The disconnect between good grassroots work and the ideas of the philanthropic community and politicians is one of the issues that the A+J project aims to address by documenting the impact of community artists working in community centers, libraries, churches and stoops. My hope is hope that the funders and politicians will adjust the grants and budget to correspond with the positive community impact they are seeing.